Knowing how to present a strong point of view clearly and concisely is essential for any writer. Whether you are a journalist who wants to sharpen their opinion voice, an activist wanting to write about their passion or a communications expert who is looking to produce poignant advocacy articles, this one-day course is a must.
Guardian Australia columnist and experienced teacher Van Badham will share her trademark humour in this practical Masterclass for aspiring op-ed commentators. Participants will learn how to tap into their inner comment voice, but also be provided with the practical nuts and bolts of opinion writing from conception to publication and beyond. You’ll be armed with an overview of the changing market for commentary in Australia, be introduced to structural templates, be walked through the pitching process, and be given personal insights into the protocols and practicalities of promoting your work. The class is particularly suited to policy wonks, spokespersons, activists and an opinionated democratic citizenry trying to develop media comms skills.
This course is for you if…
- You’re an aspiring columnist who wants to tell clear, persuasive stories with a distinctive voice
- You’re a journalist who wants to more effectively use your editorial voice
- You write for a website or blog and want to learn how to present your arguments with skill and confidence
- You work for a NGO, lobby group or similar and need to submit advocacy pieces to comment pages and websites
- You’re new to writing and want to break into the industry through comment pieces or citizen journalism
- You’re a journalism or communications student
The Masterclass is a practical introduction to the market context of Australian commentary, with a focus on the technical craft of writing it. Van’s inimitable style incorporates formal instructions within an accessible, casual atmosphere.
Topics covered on the day include:
- What is op ed? A basic overview of what op-ed is and its role within journalism and civic participation
- Op-ed in Australia: providing a context to the current market for commentary in Australia
- Expertise and inspiration: understanding the source of commentary and what differentiates an opinion from a rant
- Objective and conception: exploring the foundations of how to conceive and pursue articles
- How to pitch: the protocols of getting your work before editors - what works and what doesn’t
- Structure and content: how to structure your content for effective and clear commentary
- Stylistics of writing: the trickiest bit, involving an analysis of what differentiates merely clear comment to effective writing
- Building your reputation: advice on how to build a personal brand as a commentator and increase your chance of greater exposure
- Encourage yourself: dealing with rejection, common commentary hazards and some concrete advice to stay sane
You will leave this Masterclass with the bones of an effective article of commentary in your hand and a better understanding of what gets published and why in your head.
PLEASE NOTE: Successful participation in the course presumes a high degree of English language skills, written and spoken.
Van Badham is an award-winning writer and experienced teacher and communicator. In addition to being a weekly columnist for Guardian Australia, she is also a Guardian cultural critic, the winner of three Premiers’ literary awards for her creative work and a theatremaker of international renown. She holds a Masters in Writing from the University Melbourne and undergraduate degrees in writing, English and communications from the University of Wollongong/University of Sheffield, UK. She has taught writing, theatre, film, performance, radio and visual art theory subjects within degree programmes at Monash University, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and the University of Wollongong. Active on social media, you can follow her on Twitter or Periscope via @vanbadham.